It was so hard, but I got by

Hello everyone,

I heard an American native teacher say ''Today was my first day of work; it was so hard, but I got by''. I already know that ''get by'' means ''To perform just well enough not to fail'' (Thefreedictionary). My question: Is there something more positive, something that implies more success than just ''get by'' in this example?

Today was my first day of work; it was so hard, but I...........

Thank you in advance!
 
  • High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    This expression is usually only used when you pass a test, for example: "I passed with flying colors." But it's a bit... old-fashioned, I feel like? I would not expect it in this type of situation.



    Here’s an example from “The Good, The Bad,& The Ugly”, a book by Scott Pitoniak:

    “She just put her nose to the grindstone and assumed the role of mother and father. It wasn't easy back then working a full-time job and raising a child by yourself, but she did it with flying colors.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I’d be inclined to say “It was hard, but I did OK”.

    This is more positive than “got by” – which sounds to me a bit like you only “scraped by” or managed it “by the skin of your teeth”.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It might be worth saying that some people object to that colloquial use of so to mean very.

    I'm very happy with The problem was so hard that I couldn't solve it, but not with The problem was so hard. I couldn't solve it.

    I know many people use it but I don't like the transition of so from meaning to such an extent to meaning to a great extent.

    I had a colleague at work who hated it even more than I do.

    Notice that Lingobingo edited it out in her suggested version.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Interesting. I’ve noticed that a lot of English learners asking questions on the forum say “I’m so confused”, which I never know quite how to take. Maybe they think it means “I’m very confused”?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I heard an American native teacher say ''Today was my first day of work; it was so hard, but I got by''. I already know that ''get by'' means ''To perform just well enough not to fail'' (Thefreedictionary). My question: Is there something more positive, something that implies more success than just ''get by'' in this example?
    I think you might say: It was very hard, but I managed.

    I think that is a slightly more positive formula.
     
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